Themes and Meanings

(Critical Guide to Poetry for Students)

In his poems, Frost almost always reveals the connectedness of nature to humanity, and of all humans to one another. Poems such as “Design” stress the organized nature of the universe. Others, such as “Tree at My Window” and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” explore the inner and outer aspects of nature in relation to the internal and external struggles of the poet. Human beings must exist within and deal with the external forces of nature. At the same time, the connections that individuals share with one another are at times all-consuming within that wider frame. Together, people learn to deal with the elements and with their natural yearnings, including love, in life. However, personal relationships are rarely as clear-cut as the lines drawn between humans and the natural forces of the environment.

“The Silken Tent” succinctly draws the forces of nature and relationships into focus in a few remarkably well-chosen words. Those words, in the form of a sonnet, present a vivid image on a number of levels and thus speak to the reader in a number of different ways. Frost has a gift for making the truly complex appear simple. “The Silken Tent” can be read on a literal level, as a poem that uses the image of a tent to symbolize lust or love. One may also see it as a love poem. It is, however, much more.

This poem is a commentary on love through the ages as well as in modern times. Frost speaks of love as the eternal...

(The entire section is 530 words.)